Actually we have 4!
main statement we hold to is the Paris Basis, which is the
continuing basis and mission statement of the
YMCA as adopted by the delegates of the First World Conference
in Paris in 1855
and reaffirmed by the 6th World
Council of YMCAs in 1973:
THE PARIS BASIS (1855)
Young Men's Christian Associations seek to unite those young
men who, regarding Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour,
according to the Holy Scriptures, desire to be his disciples
in their faith and in their life, and to associate their
efforts for the extension of his Kingdom amongst young men.
In 1971 the British YMCAs adopted an
additional statement, the Aims and Purposes, which reflects
something of the practical side of YMCA work:
AIMS & PURPOSES (1971)
The YMCA is a Christian
At its centre are
Christians who, regarding Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour,
desire to share their faith with others and make Him known,
believed, trusted, loved, served and exemplified in all human
relationships. It welcomes into its fellowship persons of
other religious faiths and of none.
Accordingly the YMCA stands for:
A worldwide fellowship based on the equal value of all
Respect and freedom for all, tolerance and understanding
between people of different opinions.
Active concern for the needs of the community.
United effort by Christians of different traditions.
Provide a welcome to members for themselves, in a meeting
place which is theirs to share, where friendships can be made
and counsel sought.
Develop activities which stimulate and challenge its members
in an environment that enables them to take responsibility and
find a sense of achievement.
Involve all members in care and work for others.
Create opportunities for exchanging views, so that its members
can improve their understanding of the world, of themselves
and of one another.
The 6th World Council
meeting in Kampala, Uganda, in July 1973, adopted at the
following declaration of principles to complement the Paris
KAMPALA PRINCIPLES (1973)
The Paris Basis
expresses that Christ is the centre of the Movement, which is
conceived as a world-wide fellowship uniting Christians of all
confessions. It is consistent with an open membership policy,
involving people irrespective of faith as well as age, sex,
race and social condition. The Basis is not designed to
serve as a condition of individual YMCA membership, which is
deliberately left to the discretion of constituent movements
of the World Alliance. The Basis makes clear that the
constituent movements of the Alliance have full freedom to
express their purpose in other terms designed to correspond
more directly to the needs and aspirations of those whom they
are seeking to serve, provided these are regarded by the World
Alliance as being consistent with the Paris Basis.
Recognising the character of the YMCAs in the world today,
this act of acknowledging the Paris Basis places upon the
various associations and their members as fellow workers with
God such imperatives as:
1. To work for equal opportunity and justice for all.
2. To work for and maintain an environment in which
relationships among people are characterised by love and
3. To work for and maintain conditions, within the YMCA and in
society, its organisations and institutions, which allow for
honesty, depth and creativity.
4. To develop and maintain leadership and programme patterns
which exemplify the varieties and depth of Christian
5. To work for the development of the whole person.
At its 14th World Council in Frechen,
Germany, in 1998, the YMCA movement adopted a statement for
the 21st Century. This statement is called Challenge 21:
CHALLENGE 21 (1998)
adopted in 1855, as the ongoing foundation statement of the
mission of the YMCA, at the threshold of the third millennium,
we declare that the YMCA is a world-wide Christian,
ecumenical, voluntary movement for women and men with special
emphasis on and the genuine involvement of young people, and
that it seeks to share the Christian ideal of building a human
community of justice with love, peace and reconciliation for
the fullness of life for all creation.
Each member YMCA is therefore called to focus on certain
challenges which will be prioritized according to its own
context. These challenges which are an evolution of the
adopted in 1973, include:
the good news of Jesus Christ and striving for spiritual,
intellectual and physical well-being of individuals and
wholeness of communities.
all, especially young people and women to take increased
responsibilities and assume leadership at all levels and
working towards an equitable society.
for and promoting the rights of women and upholding the rights
dialogue and partnership between people of different faiths
and ideologies and recognizing the cultural identities of
people and promoting cultural renewal.
to work in solidarity with the poor, dispossessed, uprooted
people and oppressed racial, religious and ethnic minorities.
to be mediators and reconcilers in situations of conflict and
working for meaningful participation and advancement of people
for their own self-determination.
God's creation against all that would destroy it and
preserving and protecting the earth's resources for coming
To face these challenges, the YMCA will develop patterns of
co-operation at all levels that enable self-sustenance and